7 Games That Changed My Life

Now that you have clicked on this, I can correct the title to a more laid-back version, like 7 games that had a profound influence on me. But who knows, some might even have changed my life!

1. Scotland Yard

scotland-yardOur family had always played board game. However, this was the first game I played that wasn’t like any traditional game I knew, like chess or Nine men’s morris or even Monopoly. It was asymmetric! And playing it produced a story! When playing as a detective, I had to cooperate with my fellow detectives to catch the criminal, and when playing the lone criminal, I could imagine myself as a mastermind, deceiving my hunters and eluding them by moving through the city. And what city it was! I really learned my way around London by playing this game.

2. Die Fugger

Fugger_Animation2Were there better games for the C64? Sure. But this trading game was the one we came back to time and again. I remember the summer holidays when my brother and I would ride our bikes to a friend’s place and spent the afternoon playing Die Fugger. It showed me that I’m fundamentally a social gamer: even computer games are much more fun when played with friends.

3. Space Marine

spacemarine1989eThe Christmas I found the box of Space Marine (and of Adeptus Titanicus) under the tree – it must have been 1989 – probably really changed my life. This game made me into a miniature wargamer and showed me that gaming can be a hobby. It unleashed my creative side: I painted the figures, I built terrain, I devised all kinds of wonky scenarios and campaign ideas and I even wrote a short story set in the 40K universe. And of course I had hours of fun playing against my mate’s orc horde.


BasicSet3rdEdI’ve played RPGs once or twice before I got GURPS around 1990. However, with GURPS, it became a constant in my life. GURPS became the focal point for a group of people who probably wouldn’t have found each other without it. It created friendships, provided a welcome escape from a dreary school routine and showed me that with RPGs, there are no limits – every world is open to you.


5. X-Wing

swx01_sampleAfter school, I took a long break from gaming. Due to a series of events, I started to re-connect with my nerdy past and came across this game. Fortunately, my girlfriend was also interested, so I bought it on a whim. When I played my first game, it felt like coming home. However, X-Wing also showed me how far miniature wargames had progressed since I left them: it’s beautifully produced, the rules are elegant and the game is very thematic. But best of all, my partner K. liked it, starting a shared journey into gaming that has been a fun and rewarding experience for both of us.

6. Pandemic

220px-Pandemic_gameWhen I stopped gaming, cooperative games were virtually unheard of. So I was quite surprised when I first played Pandemic. However, I liked it very much and it introduced me to what became one of my favourite type of games. It also gave me a great gateway game to introduce friends to the joys of boardgaming.



7. Sharp Practice

SP2-Cover-smallI played the odd historical game before I discovered Sharp Practice, but Sharp Practice made me into a historical wargamer. It led me to doing in-depth research and, like nothing since Space Marine, inspired  my creativity. It’s my longest running favourite game – I’ve been playing it regularly for five years now and I can’t see myself losing interest anytime soon. It also got me to think about games mechanics and gaming and history and the relation between those more than any other game I know.


So, do you have games that changed your life or that had a profound impact on you?

5 thoughts on “7 Games That Changed My Life

  1. Eltjo October 14, 2018 / 8:00 pm

    My seven games
    1983 Battle of Shiloh: SSI computer wargame on an Atari computer
    1985 Das Schwarze Auge: my first ever RPG
    1987 Axis & Allies: my first ever ‘conflict simulation’ boardgame
    1990 AD&D: opening up a world of possibilities
    1992 WRG 7th edition: first historical miniature wargame
    1996 Volley & Bayonet: got me into Napoleonics, courtesy of Scott Fisher and a certain Herr Hofrichter
    2015 Chain of Command: first wargame that felt like I had just been the main character of an adventure. The rest was history.

    • cptshandy October 14, 2018 / 8:15 pm

      Nice list! I like what you say about Chain of Command – it was the same for me with Sharp Practice. There’s something about Lardies games…

  2. Steve Baker October 14, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    So – let’s see. Started out when I badgered my parents into buying me an air rifle. Got bored with shooting targets – started shooting 4″ tall plastic soldiers. Friends came around and I invented a game where the soldiers started at one end of the garden with me at the other. My friend rolled two dice and could move two soldiers that many feet forwards. If one came within 10 feet of the end of the garden – I lost.

  3. Chandru Ravindran February 1, 2019 / 5:12 pm

    I like this list! Here’s mine.

    1. Settlers of Catan (got me back into the hobby after a decade or more away)
    2. Pandemic (made me realize how intense cooperative games could be)
    3. Dominion (made me realize just how much variety could be had with just one game — with expansions though, hahahah)
    4. Terraforming Mars (really scratched that itch I had for a more complex game that had very rich strategy)
    5. Cry Havoc (fun game but made me realize that I needed to go back to simpler games if I wanted to play with my wife! So this game was me at a key board game crossroads in my life)
    6. Quest for El Dorado (was the first “simple” game I got after the Cry Havoc debacle with my wife. Since then, she and I have weekly board game nights because she loves the simpler games I’ve been getting for her).
    7. Arkham Horror LCG (made me realize that I don’t mind playing games solo which will lead to me asking for Gloomhaven for my birthday)

    • cptshandy February 1, 2019 / 6:52 pm

      Thanks, great list! I can really recommend Gloomhaven… and I would like to try Cry Havoc one time, I’ve heard a lot about it (although I have the suspicion that it will show its age…).

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